According to Jeff Atwood, expletives/swearing is not acceptable behaviour, and can result in suspension.

I'm fine with this, and completely condone this. One can still convey a rational point without these words.

However, there are...varying levels of expletives. Some are stronger than others. Do we ban all of these, even simple almost innocuous 'replacement' ones like "heck"? What about "dang"? Certain f-bombs or c-bombs I can understand, I'm just curious, as it's come up on travel>SE a couple of times (fortunately I no longer have to moderate that though!) :)

EDIT - just noticed it's in the [help] as well:

Please note that expletives are not allowed. If you use expletives on this site, you may be issued a warning or a suspension.

but again, there's no indication of which words.

  • 16
    I don't know what we should do with all that gosh darn crap! It gets me so frickin' mad! Sep 2, 2013 at 3:15
  • 1
    @AndrewBarber and sci-fi ones, like 'fra(c/k)king' from BSG.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 2, 2013 at 3:17
  • I love frakking! Especially when it gets confused with fracking Sep 2, 2013 at 3:21
  • What c-bombs and f-bombs are you talking about? Not everyone abbreviates the same way either
    – random
    Sep 2, 2013 at 3:23
  • 1
    Guess it depends on what country you live in
    – random
    Sep 2, 2013 at 4:02
  • 14
    I want to see full list of what is not allowed
    – gnat
    Sep 2, 2013 at 4:23
  • 3
    Data points: you are not allowed to spell out “br*infuck” on Stack Overflow or Meta Stack Exchange. On the other hand, you're allowed to spell out “Java” and “Microsoft”. “Microsoft” is even allowed on Unix & Linux. I think “expat” is banned on Travel. Sep 2, 2013 at 10:21
  • 2
    @Gilles: Why would you bother putting an asterisk in "br*infuck" if you put it in the wrong place?
    – user102937
    Sep 2, 2013 at 19:44
  • @MarkMayo If we ban the scifi expletives, we also have to ban anyone who states their location to be somewhere in Belgium.
    – Pharap
    May 17, 2016 at 16:54

2 Answers 2


Language gets moderated when it has become a distraction.

It doesn't have to be George Carlin's seven words, nor does it have to be filth floren filth, to be a distraction. although those are probably good representative samples of the kind of words we're talking about here. It just has to be a distraction.

The question you should really be asking is "Is this discourse professional?"

People can be offended by different things based on their culture, or based on the context ("it's OK to prick your finger, but not to finger your prick"). Whether you are attacking someone else personally or not matters. Whether the offensive words are in code makes a difference (Why is this offensive word filter filtering out "fracking" and "poo"? Oh, I see; the question was edited).

It is for all those reasons that compiling a definitive list of offensive words (and categorically excluding them) is impossible.

  • But we can agree that editing "damn" to "darn" does nothing useful (and shouldn't be done), right? Sep 2, 2013 at 7:26
  • 1
    Sorry, but you're not gonna pin me on specific instances. :)
    – user102937
    Sep 2, 2013 at 19:45

Swearing is contextual. On Stack Exchange, we are free to speak how we like so long as we are being respectful.

I feel free to discuss the origin of the words "hell," "shit," etc. if it's applicable, appropriate, and respectful. However, saying it at people is neither constructive nor respectful.

The same thing applies to the words "heck" and "dang." It's fully possible to be disrespectful with them. If that is the case, then it is unacceptable for Stack Exchange. Otherwise, it's fine.

Just be aware of how you're going to be read.

  • Yeah, context does matter. Sep 2, 2013 at 3:19
  • 3
    It's so tempting to obfuscate "heck" and "dang" here! ;) Sep 2, 2013 at 3:20
  • I totally agree it's contextual, but some are offended by the words. And Jeff's post would seem to indicate it's just not allowed, period.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 2, 2013 at 3:29
  • 1
    @MarkMayo Jeff's word isn't law, and isn't even the most upvoted answer to that question. The reality hasn't been quite as strict.
    – Jeremy
    Sep 2, 2013 at 3:37
  • @JeremyBanks - perhaps, but it's in the help too.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 2, 2013 at 3:38
  • @MarkMayo there is a difference in what is allowed in the chat vs. what is allowed in answers. I can say that microsoft sucks all day in the chat, and noone gives a flying duck. Flying ducks (unless literal) in an answer will likely be edited out, however. Sep 2, 2013 at 5:41
  • @JanDvorak yeah, there's already a meta post on swearing in chat. In Travel chat we're generally lenient about most, unless offensive or extreme.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 2, 2013 at 5:46
  • 1
    @jan what if the question is about ducks which happen to be flying? Sep 2, 2013 at 5:51
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    @AndrewBarber "Flying ducks (unless literal) ..." Sep 2, 2013 at 5:54
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    The problem with a list like this is that people who want to ask for the carrying capacity of a pair of asses will be very confused (since a pair of butts can not carry too much). Also, people talking about toes of camels will be. Not to mention roosters. Replacing "cracker"s with "Caucasian"s is just weird. I've never heard of the "wrong" interpretation. Dicks. The link says enough. "Faggot" normally means "bassoon" AFAICT. Flamer = homosexual? No. Just no. "Fucking" is a village. "Fucks" is a soccer player. Yes, I'm going through the list alphabetically. Sep 2, 2013 at 6:53
  • 3
    "Gay" is now a swear word? "Hell" => "Heck" will turn out absurdly wrong on Christianity. "Jackass" is a movie title and shouldn't be replaced. "Lesbian" => "Homosexual" - hell no. "Munging" => "Sexual act" will be actively harmful on programming sites. Also, what is the correct term for literal nut sacks now? "Penis" is now a swear word? More importantly the term "male genitalia" is not technically correct. "Skeet" = "semen". No. Absolutely not. Ask Jon. Also, ask skeet shooters. "Snatch" is now a term for female genitalia? It White Persons me to see that site being used for autoreplace. Sep 2, 2013 at 7:08
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    "testicle" - the same problem as "penis". Don't get me started about blue breasts and great breasts (birds) again (I'm surprised blue-footed boobies didn't get on the list). Wow, some translations use "vagina", but "vagina" itself is considered slang by this list (and yeah, "female genitalia" is inaccurate). The end. Sep 2, 2013 at 7:13
  • Since when is anus a swear word?! Sep 2, 2013 at 7:24
  • @Jan Impressive. I didn't give the list more than a cursory glance; who knew it would be so inaccurate!
    – user206222
    Sep 2, 2013 at 7:26
  • 1
    If you know it's inaccurate, why keep it in the post? Sep 2, 2013 at 7:30

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